The volta is known as a Renaissane Dance which is claimed to come from both Italy and France. It was the first dance known to have a three-fourth beat. Volta is the italian word for turn but it is said that the dance was first introduced to the Paris Court in the 1500’s. It is also known to be the first of the waltzes (or the forerunner to the waltz) when combined with other round dances.
This dance was seen considered immoral at the time, as the man faces is partner instead of standing alongside her and holds her by the waist. The lady puts her right arm on the shoulder of her partner whilst holding her dress in her left hand (just off the floor) to avoid the dress being stepped on are dragging on the floor (as well as flying up during the leaps and turns). The man spins his partner round several times and helps her take a high leap into the air (and at times leaping with her), which would sometimes cause her ballgown to fly upwards.
The volta evolved over the years and is similar to that of the german ‘Waltzen’. It reached England in 1800’s and was a great success. The dance was made even more famous with the music of Josef and Johann Strauss and was extremely popular in Vienna, hence the well known Viennese Waltz!
The dance follows a pattern of 3/4 turns and a leap and is done in 3/4 time to the music.
Click on the sample below.
DancetimePublications (for more Renaissance dance steps).